Book Thoughts

The Education of Margot Sanchez Book Cover The Education of Margot Sanchez
Lilliam Rivera
Simon and Schuster
February 21, 2017


This book brought back memories of adolescence, big time. On the surface, Margot and I come from very different places (East Van vs. the Bronx?!), but so much of it resonated with the experience of growing up in a working class immigrant neighborhood, and dealing with messy cultural and family expectations.

There's the toxic machismo, the importance of putting on a face, no dating (yet somehow you're expected to get married someday?), the pressure of having to succeed because there's no other option, family that's supposed to be the most important thing in your life, but no one ever confides anything important to one another. The jacket cover calls it a dysfunctional family, but I just see it as family. Aren't most of ours just as messy?

At the heart of the story is Margot trying to figure out who she is and who she wants to be, and it takes both her family life and social life fracturing for her to realize what's important. Margot gets things wrong, realizes it, and tries to make up for it in the end.

I also appreciated that the 'popular' girls, while still sometimes bluntly nasty, weren't just using Margot. They were probably not the right friends for her, but they were trying to help Margot in their own way. I really dislike when stories pit girls against other girls. Female friendships are important.

By the end of the novel, there are no magic solutions to the bigger problems in Margot's life, but she's changed for the better, and this felt genuine.


Book Thoughts

A couple people have asked me about book recommendations, so based on my 2017 reads I’ve whipped up a few random lists for you. The only way I could think to do this was by creating a few categories, because everyone’s taste is different.

P.S. Not all of these books were published in 2017, but I read them all last year.

Books that teen Theresa would have <3 <3 <3 and fangirled all over

  • A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
  • The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  • Want by Cindy Pon
  • The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye
  • Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Books that I think everyone should read

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
  • See also, the next list.

Books that are devastatingly good (but also nearly destroyed me or messed with my head)

  • The Broken Earth books by N. K. Jemisin
  • The Changeling by Victor LaValle
  • My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

Books for fairytale lovers

  • Roses and Rot by Kat Howard
  • The Girl Who Swallowed the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
  • Ash by Malinda Lo
  • Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie Dao

Books for the worldbuilding afficionados

  • The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
  • The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Newest comfort reads 

  • Archangel’s Shadows by Nalini Singh
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Insta-buy Authors

  • Renee Ahdieh – Historical fantasy + romance
  • Sabaa Tahir – Big not quite grimdark epic fantasy + romance side plot
  • Marjorie Liu – Monstress graphic novels

Compulsively readable, oh God I dislike those tropes, but why am I so invested?  Someone help me I have a problem…

  • The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare (Have you seen the TV show? I can’t wait for season 3 – also I’m glad they aged up the characters, because some of these themes are kinda iffy for YA)